By Tracy G. Cassels
There are lots of infant carriers on the market, but there are certain things that distinguish them and make comparisons almost impossible. For example, while some wraps can be used easily inside and out, some carriers really seem designed for outside use. The Ergo falls into this category. As such, I won’t compare it to a woven wrap or a Moby as we’re really looking at apples and oranges here – both fruit, but they are different with different purposes and fill different needs. The Ergo is more akin to the Bjorn, but in my opinion, is far superior, and here’s why…
First and foremost, the Ergo is NOT a baby dangler. What does this mean? It means that, unlike the Bjorn, the infant does not dangle, providing no real hip and butt support. This is important because there are negative consequences to baby’s forming hips from being in the dangling position. However, the Ergo in and of itself is not suitable for a very young infant. This is why they have infant inserts which you can purchase separately or buy as a combo pack. The insert is like a stool that the infant can sit on while his or her legs go to either side of mom, again, avoiding the baby dangling.
The second bonus is the hip strap. This was critical for me as I had been in a car accident prior to being pregnant and have had back problems since. The Bjorn, which carries all the weight in the shoulder area, would have left me crippled after 20 minutes of walking. The Ergo, however, allowed for the weight to be better distributed, meaning I could go longer. Notably though, even the Ergo does not compare to the comfort of a wrap in terms of weight displacement, something I am acutely aware of.
The third benefit is the versatility in that the Ergo can be worn front and back (though small infants should not be worn on the back; if you are using the infant insert, do not put your baby on your back in an Ergo). If you’re going for a hike or snowshoeing or other outdoor activities, often it’s much easier to carry your infant on the back. Even just a long walk can be better on the back. For me, the joy has been the reemergence of the Ergo with my daughter as a toddler (she’s 2 ½). We recently pulled it out again, and she will now happily go on my back for a good day around town. (I am aware that wraps can also be used on the back, I just have never figured out how, but also found it even more difficult on top of coats, something that was not an issue with the Ergo.)
Other pros of the Ergo include the pouches to store keys, money, etc. and the cover for babe. The cover is a nice cloth piece that can attach at the straps to provide a shaded area for your baby. While probably not helpful when babe is awake and wanting to look around, it’s great for dimming things if babe is sleeping.
There are, however, some drawbacks worth noting. First, as suggested at the start, the Ergo is not super comfortable inside. If you plan on wearing your baby indoors, you will need another wrap that is indoor-friendly. (Of course, my view is that the more wraps, the better. Options are good.) Second, it is bulky to carry around relative to a cloth wrap; however, it is far less bulky than a stroller! Finally, for us, my daughter ended up unhappy in it when she was quite young and couldn’t see out. Because the size is what it is, until she was “tall” enough to see out of the top, she was unhappy and often I’d have to take her out and just carry her in my arms. This lead to the dominant use of the wrap for a period (though her dad always used the Ergo when he wore her) as it could be manipulated so that she could always see out and check out the world around her.
All in all, though, the Ergo is a great outdoor baby carrier. And if you’re looking at the two big names in outdoor carrying (Ergo versus Bjorn), there is no contest. The baby-dangling issue alone is enough to make the Ergo a hands-down winner.
What was your experience with the Ergo? Add your review in the comments below.
[Image credit: ErgoBaby Canada]